#727: Read Tenth of December

11 Dec

10th of December, 2011: Reeling from a breakup a month prior, just after having quit a job without a plan, I am hoping against hope (a weird idiom) that a prospective freelance gig will pull through–not so much for the money and sense of self-worth, which I need, but to give me something to concentrate on other than my failed relationship, which I need more desperately.  I’m playing a lot of Christmas songs on the piano in my underwear to help calm me down.

10th of December, 2012: I’ve now been back in New York after a 5 month hiatus for 5 months, and the job I have is slowly draining my passion for living, but instead of focusing on that, I am spending my free time writing entries for a joke tumblr called Reasons to Date Us Before the World Ends (you know, that whole Mayan calendar thing?).  I haven’t yet met the man who tells me the first book he will suggest for his soon-to-be-started book club is Tenth of December by George Saunders, but I will in a few weeks.

10th of December, 2013: I am stuck in an “it’s complicated” phase after a breakup that somehow affects me worse than any before (and hopefully after), and I have bought a live Christmas tree on my own for the first time in an attempt to pull myself off the roller coaster before it plunges down the next hill.  It doesn’t work, but the tree is lovely, and I’m excited for my friend to stay with me the next weekend so I can show off the glitter dinosaur ornaments I made myself.

10th of December, 2014: I stay late at work and then drag myself to the gym to go running because it’s the first day I’m feeling slightly better after a bad cold, even though the last thing I want to do is go running.  Walking home, I’m happy the precipitation has finally changed definitively to snow, and I pretend it’s a nice, fluffy, snowman snow rather than the slushy, ploppy, melts-as-it-reaches-the-ground kind it actually is.  I eat the last of the soup I was so proud of making, learn about the spooky occurrence of delusional pregnancy, and make chocolate snowflake suckers for work the next day because I will forever be like my mom in the compulsion to make things for people whether they appreciate it or not.  As I scrub the soup pot in the sink, I think about the article I read earlier on “being single during the holidays,” and how, though I completely disagree with the notion that it can feel okay–it never feels okay to be the only one on your couch cuddled under your blanket when the rules for correctly partaking in holiday giddiness require another human to be there to share it–I do sort of know what the writer means, since I am unequivocally alone, and yet I enjoy the company of myself so much that it feels slightly less than tragic.  I wait until all of the evening’s chores have been done and I’m snuggled into bed to open to the final story in Tenth of December, feeling a tiny bit silly for saving it to read on the date of its namesake when I found the book in a box by the park a month earlier, but mainly triumphant.  I savor it because it is the best book I’ve read this year and I don’t want it to end.

10th of December, 2035: The robots have totally taken over the world, and there’s nothing I can do to stop them.  I am run mostly by technology, and even though I think I am writing this of my own accord, in truth, there’s a computer inside my brain prompting these words to appear in front of you.  I admit I’m joking but realize too late I’ve trapped myself in a type of Boy Who Cried Wolf situation, but for robots, and understand that now you will never take me seriously when I really do get taken over by computers.  Just do me a favor and assume that I would never joke about robots or computers taking over humanity, okay?  It’s no laughing matter.  Fine, I am still joking, but for real, if someone tells you they’ve been taken over by a computer, please do the decent thing and believe them.

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Posted by on December 11, 2014 in Books


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